Marriage Equality is Changing the GOP, and the Results Are Fabulous
America was built by pro-people. Pro-freedom. Pro-privacy. Pro-family and pro-business.
A bloated government infringes on freedom and privacy, threatening families and businesses.
Taking freedoms and responsibilities away has made the federal government broke. Taking away freedom requires enforcement, and enforcement costs money (hey, War on Drugs). Taking responsibilities away requires a redistribution of wealth — making taxpayers as a whole responsible for payment, and removing that from the individual. This is enormously expensive (for those of you keeping track at home, it's helped push us $17 trillion into debt.) If we want the government to be solvent again, we have to decide what issues we want it to be involved in, and where Uncle Sam needs to step out.
The federal government has butted into families, and messed them up in a big way. The rise of the welfare state has disincentivized fathers to stay with the families they have created. According to the CATO Institute, single parents are the least likely to marry in the places with the highest welfare benefits.
We need families that can care for themselves without government interference. Fortunately, families are particularly good at this. Families are the first unit of government. They are the smallest unit of government, and the most effective.
Conservatives have every reason to be pro-family. It is a shame that so many on the political right have balked at same-sex marriage, when it — like any other type of marriage between two loving adults — promotes stable families. Data on same-sex divorce rates is rare, but the data we have now implies that same-sex households are more likely to stay married than heterosexual couples.
What we need is for the GOP, the Big-Tent Party, to get a bigger tent. You don't win elections by telling people what they can and cannot do. You win by supporting freedom. A whopping 73% of people under age 30 support same-sex marriage. It's all but impossible to win an election when 73% of young people disagree with you. Attitudes are changing, and as millennials climb the ranks of political organizations, those organizational platforms will change, too.
The tides are already turning, and they look fabulous: More GOP voters under the age of 50 support same-sex marriage than oppose it.
If my right to swing my fist ends at your nose, as Oliver Wendell Holmes famously theorized, then the government's right to legislate surely ends at your ladybusiness, man-bits, or whatever you've got going on. It makes no difference what parts you have or what you choose to do with them, within the boundaries of informed consent. When two people want to care for each other, the government has no right to say no — and no substantive reason to say no, either.
The Constitution tells us in no uncertain terms "to provide for the general welfare." When the federal government tries to provide for the specific welfare, it encroaches on freedom and breaks up families. General welfare is the freedom to marry and form households as we choose. Specific welfare is bureaucrats defining households for us, instead of people having the freedom to do so for themselves.
Electoral math will one day force the GOP to accept same-sex marriage, since the overwhelming majority of new voters support marriage equality. But before that day comes, the Republican Party has a chance to realize the conservative character of protecting the freedom to marry. It is a chance we can only hope that the GOP will take.